Winds Halt Flights At O'Hare Airport
It was a frustrating morning for Detroit-bound passengers whose flight was delayed coming out of Chicago. Chicago Department of Aviation said officials issued a temporary “ground stop” at O’Hare, meaning no flights were departing.
Aviation Department spokeswoman Karen Pride said more than 125 flights were canceled Tueeday morning. Many more were delayed.
The storm – quickly nicknamed a “chiclone” and “windpocalypse” – swept an area that stretched from the Dakotas to the eastern Great Lakes. Severe thunderstorm warnings blanketed much of the Midwest and tornado watches were issued from Arkansas to Ohio.
Sustained winds of 35 to 40 mph and gusts up to 60 mph were expected throughout the afternoon, the National Weather Service said.
Flights at Detroit Metro were still taking off, but WWJ’s Pat Sweeting spoke with frustrated passengers arriving in Detroit from Chicago — three hours late.
“We have a business meeting that we’re two-and-a-half hours late for,” said one air traveler.
“It’s supposed to be the storm of the last 70 year — the biggest storm,” said Chicagoian Mike Magrath, who has a plan in case his flight back home Tuesday night also doesn’t take off on time.
“I suspect it will be delayed, and as a fallback I may drive back to Chicago tonight if that happens,” he said.
A Metro Airport spokesman says cancellations and delays may be frustrating, but it’s all in the interest of passenger safety.
“The Federal Aviation Administration and your airline are not going to have an aircraft performing in any kind of unsafe conditions,” said Metro Airport spokesman Mike Conway.
“The problem that airports have is when they’re getting strong crosswinds. We’re set up, primarily, with four parallel runways northeast to southwest, and if we get real strong winds out of the west or east we would need to switch to our two crosswind configuration, which would cause delays,” Conway said.
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(Copyright 2010 WWJ Radio. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report).